Jaime Munguia faces Takeshi Inoue, hopes for a showdown with Canelo Alvarez down the road.
Junior middleweight world titlist Jaime Munguia and his co-promoters, Golden Boy and Zanfer Promotions, have ambitious plans for the rising Mexican star.
If all goes well over the next few fights, there is little doubt that the big fight he is being positioned for in the future is a shot at unified middleweight world champion and countryman Canelo Alvarez, who is also with Golden Boy and represents the big-money, high-profile fight every titleholder and contender seeks in and around the 160-pound division. But it’s a process to get there and Munguia and his team know it.
Munguia and his trainer, Alcazar: a perfect combination!
Jaime Munguia’s fighting style has resonated with fans, but the 22-year-old junior middleweight titlist is still a work in progress. Enter trainer Robert Alcazar, who’s teaching Munguia there’s more to this game than punching someone into submission.
There is no rush. Munguia is only 22 and still gaining valuable experience at 154 pounds, where he will make his third title defense, against Takeshi Inoue on Saturday (DAZN, 7 p.m. ET) in the main event at the Toyota Center in Houston.
Inoue (13-0-1, 7 KOs), 29, of Japan — no relation to Japanese pound-for-pound star Naoya Inoue — is entirely unknown and will be fighting outside of his home country for the second time after one bout in Thailand.
Munguia (31-0, 26 KOs) is expected to win. That is obvious in that this is an optional defense and Inoue was hand-picked as an opponent against whom Munguia’s handlers believe he can shine as he continues to raise his profile and gain fans, especially among Mexican-Americans.
It’s been a quick rise so far for Munguia, who was at first known only as the guy the Nevada State Athletic Commission declined to license to challenge then-unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin this past May when GGG needed a short-notice opponent after Alvarez’s suspension for a positive drug test.
The Nevada officials deemed Munguia too inexperienced at a world-class level to face Golovkin, especially since he would have to move up in weight.
The dis was a blessing in disguise for Munguia, who soon after got a shot at then-junior middleweight titlist Sadam Ali when he needed a new opponent on short notice. Munguia bludgeoned him in a fourth-round knockout win to win the belt in May, then dropped Liam Smith and pounded him in a highly entertaining unanimous decision win in July.
Then Munguia landed the plum slot in the co-feature on the Canelo-GGG rematch undercard when it was rescheduled in September and Munguia blasted out Brandon Cook in the third round. And now it’s on to Inoue, with plans for a busy year to follow if Munguia wins.